Working in Market - Italy
See how to work in Italy, one of Tourism Australia's key markets, and learn key insights into the various travel distribution channels.
The online environment plays a key role in Italy for destination selection and planning. Consumers under 30 years of age are increasingly using online channels for bookings, especially for flights. Traditional operators however, remain the main booking channel for long haul and special interest travel, such as the Honeymoon segment.
Wholesalers/ Large Agents
Commission Level: 12% - 20%
- The majority produce brochures on Australia combined with New Zealand and Pacific Islands. These operators sell their products through travel agencies and most of them also own travel agency networks or have significant shares in these networks.
- The honeymoon segment is key for these operators, representing between 65 to 80 per cent of their total business to Australia.
- Consolidations and mergers have impacted the biggest players in the market.
- The major wholesalers in Italy are: Discover Australia, Viaggidea, Go Australia, Alidays, Eden Travel Group (Hotelplan & Eden), Amo il Mondo and NAAR.
Commission Level: 10% - 14%
- Retail agencies are very influential in Italy, managing much of the distribution.
- There are approximately 8,500 travel agencies in Italy. They are spread throughout the market with over 70 per cent concentrated in central and northern Italy. Travel agency networks represent about 80 per cent of total agencies.
- There are 5 main travel agency networks. Of these the top five are:
- Welcome Travel Group and Group Geo Travel Network with 3.100 agencies together.
- Gattinoni 1500 travel agencies.
- Robintur 260 travel agencies.
- Bluvacanze 860 travel agencies.
- UVET (numbers not available)*
*Number of Travel Agencies to be reconfirmed in 2022, post pandemic.
- The Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) is the primary platform for Tourism Australia to train and develop front line travel sellers to best sell Australia.
- As at November 2021, there were 600 qualified Aussie Specialists in Italy.
Commission Level: 6% - 12%
- Over 65 per cent of Italian families (14.5 million) have a computer with internet access.
- Nearly 70 per cent of the connected families access the internet through a broadband connection.
- 15.9 million Italians access the internet via mobile phones and 2.4 million Italians access the internet via tablet devices.
Inbound Tour Operators
Commission Level: up to 30%
- Inbound tour operators (ITOs) form a key part of the distribution chain in Italy, linked with Italian wholesalers that run Australian programs. Key ITOs include Australia One, AOT, Goway, Pacific Destinations and Across Oceania.
- Young consumers, especially working holidaymakers, are increasingly booking direct with airlines and product.
- The Italian online travel agency (OTA) market remains somewhat fragmented, with global players maintaining a significant share. They sell predominantly short/medium haul travels or flights only.
- Tour operators are still key distributors for honeymoons and long-haul travel, with online channels used predominantly as a research tool.
Planning and purchasing travel
- Italian consumers are searching for value deals, particularly via online channels. Internet transactions for travel continued to grow in Italy and increased in total travel sales share.
- Traditional retail agencies remain an important channel for long haul, complex destinations such as Australia. Retail agents also remain a vital source of information alongside travel guides for Italian consumers.
- Special interest segments out of the Italian market include youth, honeymoon and luxury. Honeymoon is one of the main segments for special interest tour operators, which are particularly active in their marketing.
- It’s increasingly common that some travel agencies with a tour operator licence sell destinations upon request, buying directly from inbound tour operators (ITOs).
- The youth segment has performed very well in recent years; however the traffic is not directly driven by specialist operators. A number of operators selling language courses have recorded good growth for Australia, whereas Working Holiday Visa Makers (WHVM) often plan and book directly online. Key players include Go Study Australia, Interstudio, EF and WEP.
Planning a visit to market
Top tips for sales calls
- Make sure you know the product and positioning of a tour operator before meeting with them. Product managers expect your products to be relevant to their clientele.
- An average sales call with a product manager should last between 45 to 60 minutes.
- The best time for sales calls is January to May and October to early December.
- The key market centres to visit are Turin, Milan and to a lesser extent Rome but specialised operators are spread throughout the market.
- For more general information on sales calls and planning a visit to market, please see Tourism Australia’s Tourism Export Toolkit.
Key Distribution Partners
Tourism Australia is a partnership marketing organisation and works closely with airlines and travel companies on cooperative marketing to drive conversion in all priority markets.
These targeted travel companies, including wholesalers, retail and online travel agencies, form Tourism Australia’s Key Distribution Partner (KDP) program with the intention to increase total booking value of visitors to Australia.
Each KDP is selected based on the fit with Tourism Australia’s market strategy, a shared target customer profile, shared funding of marketing activity, a commitment to training their frontline sales team through the Aussie Specialist Program and a commitment to selling quality Australian product and experiences.
Below are a selection of Key Distribution Partners that Tourism Australia is partnering with from Italy.
Where to find more information
Tourism Australia’s activities in Italy are managed from its Frankfurt office and a representative office in Turin.
Australian State and Territory Tourism Organisations with representation in Europe also covering Italy include South Australian Tourism Commission (London Office), Tourism and Events Queensland, (London Office) Visit Victoria (Frankfurt), and Tourism NT (Germany).
- An overview on the travel distribution system
- A quick reference on key booking and travel periods for markets
- Italy Country Brief published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at: www.dfat.gov.au/geo/italy
- For additional statistical reports refer to the ABS and TRA websites, www.abs.gov.au and www.tra.gov.au